Wallace becomes independent real estate agency: ‘We’ve got the horsepower. We just needed to take the reins.’

Anne Williams shows her fellow agents some of the new signage for Wallace Real Estate.

The large gathering in the ballroom of the Embassy Suites hotel on Parkside Drive last Wednesday had all the markings of a highly charged political event. A large screen with the words, “The Big Reveal,” was positioned front and center. Rock music blared on the sound system. A podium outfitted in blue draping was up front. And — get this — a drone hovered overhead!

The room was charged with nervous energy as everyone waited for the company’s CEO, George Wallace, to take the stage and tell them why they had been summoned there. He first told them why they had NOT been.

“Let me first dispel some rumors,” Wallace laughed. “We are not here for me to launch my run for governor!” Big laughs. “And, no, Peyton Manning is not here! And Tony Vitello is not here! And the top producers’ lunch is not going to be held on a cruise ship!”

The news actually was much bigger on a personal level for the people in the room — mostly agents and employees of Coldwell Banker Wallace, one of the largest real estate firms in East Tennessee. Wallace said the company would be exiting its long-standing (35-year) relationship with Coldwell Banker and would become an independent real estate company — the largest in East Tennessee.

CEO George Wallace announcing last week that the company would be leaving its long-term relationship with Coldwell Banker.

The crowd of a couple hundred roared and jumped to a standing ovation!

“We are ready to soar!” Wallace said. The new company will be under the umbrella of Wallace with various divisions, including Wallace Real Estate. It also has joined Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a prestigious¬† invitation-only network of market-leading independent real estate firms.

Wallace said the firm had surveyed its member agents about how they felt about the affiliation with Coldwell Banker. Many responses said the brand seemed “old-fashioned,” compensation was hurt by high franchise fees and restrictive rules; there was a lack of local marketing and a lack of flexibility.

Wallace will retain its current leadership and ownership team of George Wallace as CEO; his brother, Jim Wallace, as CFO; Claudia Stallings as COO; and Andrew McGranaghan as chief development officer.

Stallings said the most important thing about leaving the Coldwell Banker franchise is that “now we will be making decisions for us.”

“We’ve got the horsepower,” she said. “We just needed to take the reins.” Wallace has 485 licensed agents and 45 employees operating in six residential offices and one commercial and property management office in East Tennessee. It has been in business for 87 years and last year sold more than 4,000 homes with $1.3 billion in sales.

McGranaghan told the crowd, “Every decision we make will be to help you.”

And Jim Wallace said to expect “aggressive local marketing.”

“We’ve never had that,” he said, adding that agents will experience a 24 percent reduction in franchise fees.

Disclosure: Wallace is a client of Moxley Carmichael.

“The Big Reveal” was on the screen as a couple hundred folks entered the ballroom at Embassy Suites by Hilton last Wednesday.

The crowd waited in anticipation before the announcement.

A drone flew over the gathering. It only crashed once — when it ran into the podium before the speakers started!

CFO Jim Wallace said agents’ compensation will increase under the new arrangement.

Claudia Stallings told agents they could pick up new materials after the meeting. “Fifty-one thousand business cards await you in the lobby!” she said.

Stallings and Andrew McGranaghan on a video that was shown.

The new logo.

The look of new resource materials.

Announcement of new local marketing plans got big applause.

Champagne for everyone!

From left, Oscar Valle, Alejandrina Rodriguez and Megan Borges, all agents from the company’s Bearden office, toast the news.

So do, from left, Nina Guity, Patti Stallings and Liz Hall.

Sharon Long was handing out bags of branded swag to attendees.

Including apparel.

Shayna Brock helps folks find their correct T-shirt size.

Agents Joyce Tapscott and John Lyle after the announcement.

Will Roberts, left, and George Wallace.

New signs for everyone.

Kathi Browne posing for a photo.

From left, Dori Pavlovsky, Deborah Saunders and Rossy Casillas, agents from the Farragut office.

Claudia Stallings, left, and Lacy Pineda.

Some of the 51,000 business cards and 500 name tags that were in the lobby!


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